President Trump has reportedly named Patrick Shanahan to be the Acting Secretary of Defense.
Shanahan, who is currently Deputy Defense Secretary, will be replacing Defense Secretary James Mattis who recently resigned. As Politico reports, he is a former Boeing executive and “vocal proponent of the president’s push to establish a new branch of the armed services, the so-called Space Force.”
“I am pleased to announce that our very talented Deputy Secretary of Defense, Patrick Shanahan, will assume the title of Acting Secretary of Defense starting January 1, 2019,” Trump announced in a tweet on Sunday. “Patrick has a long list of accomplishments while serving as Deputy, & previously Boeing.”
“He will be great!” the president added, speaking of Shanahan.
From Yahoo News:
The move comes just three days after Mattis resigned in protest over Trump’s decision to pull all U.S. troops out of Syria, and delivered a blistering letter to the president that roiled Washington and reportedly angered the White House.
Mattis originally said he would stay through February to ensure an orderly transition. But U.S. officials said that the fallout of his decision to leave — including the shock and dismay expressed on Capitol Hill — annoyed Trump and likely led to Mattis leaving earlier than planned.
Mattis has reportedly been asked to leave the administration on January 1st.
And, per USA Today:
The announcement capped a turbulent series of events in which Trump abruptly gave notice Wednesday that 2,000 troops would be withdrawn from Syria, the prospect of a partial government shutdown drew closer and financial markets plunged.
In his resignation letter, Mattis, 68, acknowledged his differences with Trump over the need for alliances and bluntly told him that he should choose a different chief for the Defense Department.
“Because you have the right to have a secretary of Defense whose views are better aligned with yours on these and other subjects, I believe it is time for me to step down from my position,” Mattis wrote.
Yahoo News reports Shanahan spokesperson Lt. Col. Joseph Bussino said the deputy director will accept the position.
“Deputy Secretary will continue to serve as directed by the president, and the Department of Defense will remain focused on the defense of the nation,” Buccino said on Sunday, per the report.
Mick Mulvaney told ABC’s “This Week” that the president and his defense chief “just could never get on the same page” on Syria, adding that Trump had said since his presidential campaign that “he wanted to get out of Syria.” Mulvaney said the president “is entitled to have a secretary of defense who is committed to that same end.”
Asked whether Trump wanted a Pentagon leader willing to challenge him or someone in lock step with his views, Mulvaney said “a little bit of both.”
“I’ve encouraged him to find people who have some overlap with him but don’t see the world in lockstep with him,” Mulvaney said.